(CNN)—With its flat-
Located in front of more than 1960 buildings and plain color schemes, Hoveniersstrat may be considered one of the most monotonous streets in the beautiful baroque city of Antwerp in Belgium.
In fact, this is one of the most attractive games, and there are a few high-security threads that can make the game disappear.
The street was protected by a police station, dozens of CCTV cameras and several armed soldiers.
Reason: the center of Antwerp is hoveniersstrat--
And the world ---
Today, about 84% of rough diamonds and 50% of cut diamonds are traded at this destination.
Less than an hour by train from Brussels, the Belgian city, has been a major diamond center since the middle of the century.
"Antwerp has been a diamond center for centuries," said Anne Clesson, who served as a tour guide on the diamond trail in Antwerp.
"It has set up the world's first stock exchange, trading everything from copper, silver to diamonds and gold.
"I met Kelson at the train station in Antwerp, a huge terminal with exquisite new
A member of a team of archivists who unearthed a document dated September 15, 1447 that established the city's reputation as a trusted center for jewellery transactions.
The document contains an announcement by the city's bailiffs, mayors and aldermen stating that "no one in Antwerp will buy, sell, pawn or pass on any fake stones, rubies, emeralds and sapphire that mimic diamonds. . .
"The Diamond District of New Life Antwerp is located next to the main train station in the Belgian city.
What is vital to this trade is the city's Jews, many of whom have fled from all over Europe to Antwerp.
"Medieval authorities welcome persecuted Jews, who are professional diamond merchants, traveling long distances with portable gemstone bags and carrying wealth," explains Claesen . ".
Therefore, the Jewish population of Antwerp is booming.
At the beginning of the last century, many Jewish families passed the port of Antwerp as they fled the rising anti-Semitic forces.
Jews start a new life in the United States through the famous Red Star Line ships.
However, many people live here, so the area below the train station they arrive at Becomes the Jewish district, today's Diamond District.
Nearly 2 out of 3 Jews in Antwerp were wiped out during World War II, but the city took special measures to attract those who fled after the conflict.
To start our trip, we drove south along the railway, through rows of shop windows showing diamond jewelry until we arrived at hovennier strathra.
Claesen introduced me to the diamond grinder Pieter Bombeke, whose studio "diamond design" is one of the 1,700 officially registered diamond businesses in Antwerp's own square mile. "In the 1950s-
He said: "1960 of people have about 40,000 politicians, but now only about 500 are registered and only 250 are registered. odd are active.
"Technology has replaced competition ---
Most of them are from India, China, Russia and Israel;
However, the big stones in Antwerp are still being cut.
"The Diamond area of securityantwerp is dubbed square miles.
One of the "stones" is the 603 commitment of Lesotho
Carat rough diamond, the biggest discovery of the 21 st century: it is sold in Antwerp and cut into 26 stones to make a necklace, which is now sold in Graff, London.
Hoveniersstrat also owns the world's only rough diamond exchange.
The safety here is much tighter.
To visit, I have submitted my name and passport details to Natalie Linot in advance from the Antwerp World Diamond Center ---
An agency that promotes the industry in Belgium and abroad.
I put my passport and camera at the door and went through the metal scanner and into the exchange.
Then I sat in a cafe. style tables.
These are perpendicular to the north.
When the soft northern sun shines, facing the big window is the best light to check the diamond.
The museum floors in the top 20 of the world rankings are very quiet, probably because most of the transactions now are done through computers or private offices above the exchange.
Its Jewish roots are still striking. -
The exchange abides by Jewish festivals and says "Mazal u 'bracha" when shaking hands, and "Yiddish" is for "good luck and blessing ".
"Linotte is trying to explain how the diamond industry has responded to strong international protests after the film" Blood Diamond "highlights its smuggling bottom.
The origin of each diamond is now guaranteed through the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
The certification process successfully reduced the share of conflict or "blood" diamonds in global trade from 15% to 0. 2% since 2003.
In addition, the famous retail store has the "most brilliant in Antwerp "(AMB)designation;
They have to pass 30 rigorous tests before getting the badge.
Linotte took me to HRD lab, Europe's leading diamond certification body, where the grade of diamonds is four Cs: Carat (weight), Color (
13 shades from pure white to colored yellow), Clarity (
10 degrees purity)and Cut (
Four levels from excellence to fairness).
"Lab staff who assess the color of diamonds can only work for half an hour a day and do not allow gin because it will" turn yellow "their eyesight, she said ".
The story behind the jewelry New Diamond Museum called DIVA is opening in May.
Antwerp days later "anyone can bring their grandmother's diamonds to the lab for an assessment and the price varies depending on the gem, between $87 and $372.
"The price of diamonds grows in the weight index, so my suggestion is that the price of jewelry is lower than carat and the investment price is slightly higher than carat ".
In May 2018, a new diamond museum called DIVA was opened in downtown Antwerp.
Before the launch, curator Romy Cockx took me to the museum, which tells the story of the city's jewelry industry.
Its first room discussed the history of the luxury trade in Antwerp and the culture of collecting rare items, and the second room discussed diamond processing, a short film on how to cut diamonds and design rings.
"You should set aside one or two hours for your visit," Cockx said . ".
"But you can easily spend the day playing and watching all the movies.
"The third room explores the diamond trade, and a huge globe shows how diamonds from all over the world get to Antwerp.
From the 15 th century, seven short films discuss people in real life, and the exhibition is related to stories highlighted when the film stops.
Room 4 shows the museum's collection of silverware.
This is a luxurious restaurant where guests can play interactive games, learn about real and false diamond certificates, and listen to the story of diamond robbery in the next room, which is designed as a vault.
The last room is a boudoir focusing on "Diamond Days" such as Queen Victoria and Marilyn Monroe.
Jewelry that leads the trend is displayed here.
Diamond and chocolate you can take a quiz to decide what kind of day you will be;
After that, a computer takes your picture, takes a picture on the cover of the magazine with the right jewelry, and sends the result to you by email.
I found a mezuzah outside the DIVA Museum (
Jewish decorative box containing prayer scrolls)
At the door of a diamond shop.
Owner Tomer Reuveni, from a diamond trade Jewish family, has been engaged in the business since the age of 19, a rare phenomenon in which Jews are involved in the decline of the diamond industry in the city today.
He gave me a chocolate and told me about his two stores. -
Oriane and Diamond Blue-
The only Jew. owned AMB-
"Our store is the only one that can find diamonds, Jews and chocolate, representing everything in Antwerp," he joked . ".
"Come in, just buy a commemorative Diamond.
The idea is to give everyone a chance to go home;
The minimum purchase price for polished diamonds is $48, and the minimum purchase price for rough diamonds is $36.
"This is a very good price for an eternal gift. . . Book a two-
Diamond one hour walk (
$100 fixed price for up to 20 people)
Tickets for DIVA are $12 (10 a. m. to 6 p. m.
Rest on Wednesday. )
John Marcelas is from London.
Travel writer and photographer.
He wrote or worked together.
15 books were written, including a rough guide to Greece.